FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sep. 17, 2012
Association website: www.mannamintl.org
The Celebration of the World Peace Festival
Seoul, South Korea, September 17, 2012 — For the first time since 1988, the Olympic torch at the Seoul Olympic Stadium was lit on the 16th of September for The World Peace Festival: Culture and Sports Celebration of Restoring Light, the largest festival of its kind. This historical event brought the Chief of Staff, Special Advisor to the President, Commissioners, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of many nations, 23 diplomatic personnel, leading NGO representatives from around the world and over 100,000 people together to celebrate the launch of the World Peace Initiative. Over 20 international broadcasting systems, amounting to 50 media personnel, attended to document this notable event.
Mr. Assefa Kessito Dasho, the Chief Staff and Special Advisor to the President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ehtiopia, Mr. Joycie Dorado Alegre, the Commissioner of the National Commission for Culture and Arts of the Republic of the Philippines, and Mr. Constancio da Conceicao Pinto, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, gave their congratulatory speeches on stage, emphasizing the need and urgency for world peace.
The international festival included arts and cultural programs of 20 different groups to promote cultural diversity, an essential piece in the path to understand and appreciate each culture. The hosts of the World Peace Festival, Shinchonji Church of Jesus and MANNAM Volunteer Association, also prepared special performances. Shinchonji demonstrated a mass game performance by 2,000 Korean citizens, expressing the wish for the unification of Korea and furthermore, the world. Using multi-colored flags, the group depicted the Korean peninsula as one. There was also a display of the 6,000 years of history according to the Christian Bible and how it has been fulfilled. Crowds were impressed by the card-section involving 12,000 people that took place in the stands. One of the most impressive moments was the constant waves that rolled through the stadium stands as thousands actively took part in the show. The unison and preciseness of the performance moved all who were watching. There was also a mass game performance by MANNAM to show the unity of all cultures and people to create peace. MANNAM’s performance of traditional cultural dances represented nations such as Jordan, China, India, and those of Latin America.
International members of MANNAM Volunteer Association, who have been actively promoting the World Peace Initiative around the globe, gathered over 6,000 photos in the photo campaign that took place on nearly every continent of the world. The campaign’s purpose was to raise awareness for peace that is achieved through understanding and appreciation of diversity. The monument of the “Peace is” Photo Project was revealed at the opening ceremony—a globe of thousands of pieces with 3,913 photos of individuals and their sentiments on peace. It is a representation of individuals joining together for the peace and restoration of the world.
In the tradition of Olympics, the 12 ‘tribes’ of Shinchonji Church of Jesus and the team of International MANNAM members engaged in a friendly competition of sports such as track and field, football, basketball and tug-of-war. After the awards and closing ceremony, the evening closed in the pouring rain with the lighting of a hundred thousand hanji (Korean traditional paper) lanterns during the live performance of the ’88 Olympic song “Hand in Hand” accompanied by fireworks. The World Peace Festival was not a gathering of nations but of people from all different ethnicities, religions and ideologies that strive towards an achievable peace. Media around the world have stated that the World Peace Festival certainly brought unity among those who wish for world peace and moved everyone’s hearts throughout the event.